Monday, April 20, 2009

Indian Rocket Launches Israeli-Built Spy Satellite

India launched a closely-guarded Israeli-built radar spy satellite today to begin gathering valuable intelligence data from a 342-mile-high perch above the planet, regardless of lighting and weather conditions. More on this story at

And from Jonathan's Space Report at

India's PSLV-C12 launch put the RISAT-2 satellite in orbit on Apr 20. RISAT-2 is a Tecsar-class radar imaging satellite that India bought from Israel to make up for delays in the Indian-built RISAT-1.

The PSLV took off at 0115 UTC from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on Sriharikota Island north of Chennai, and the first three stages placed the PS4 fourth stage with its payloads on a suborbital trajectory of about -1000 x 560 km x 20 deg. After a few minutes coast, the package reached apogee at 0130 UTC over the equator at 116 deg E, and the PS4 yawed to burn the vehicle into a 455 x 557 km x 41.1 deg orbit. The third stage reentered over the ocean east of Australia at around 0146 UTC.

RISAT-1 separated from the PS4 at 0132 UTC, and two minutes later Anusat, a small 40 kg imaging satellite from Anna University in Chennai, was also ejected from the stage.